Syria rebels have clashed with Hezbollah forces, in what is a first for the civil war, inside Lebanon’s borders over the past weekend.
Sources report that more than a dozen Syria rebels and at least one Hezbollah fighter were killed as fighting broke out in Lebanon’s eastern border region of Bekaa Valley and the town of Baalbek.The attack was believed to be carried out by Syria rebel forces, who have made public their intent to retaliate against Hezbollah guerrilla forces.
As one source reports, regarding the clash between Syria rebel and Hezbollah forces in Lebanon:
“It is significant that there has been a clash inside Lebanese territory as it shows how determined the Syrian rebels are to target Hezbollah strongholds. It also shows how vulnerable Lebanon has become that they were able to cross the border.”
Hezbollah, an organization recognized by Israel and the United States as terrorist in nature, has established a strong presence in Lebanon, Syria’s smaller, southern neighbor.
Since the beginning of the civil war in Syria over two years ago, Shi’ite Muslim Hezbollah have come out in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, reported to have engaged Syria rebel forces together in several major battles.
Perhaps the biggest coordinated battle of Hezbollah/Loyalist forces was in the recent Assad-lead assault on a southern Syrian rebel stronghold, based in Qusayr.
The town, on the Syrian side of the Lebanon border, is known to house rebel weapon supplies. It has also become popular as a passage into Syria for the increasing number of Sunni Lebanese fighters entering the nation who do not support the Shi’ite Hezbollah forces or President Assad.
Syria rebels have made clear that the two-week siege of Qusayr, which the United Nations and humanitarian organizations have estimated could exceed 1,500 in casualties, will continue to provoke retaliatory strikes from rebels against Hezbollah forces inside of Lebanon.
[Image via ShutterStock]